Villa Cresta Apartment
Located at one end of a small hamlet in the hills above the Upper Tiber Valley, Villa Cresta is the ideal spot for anyone looking for a relaxing holiday in the Tuscany countryside. From here you can explore eastern Tuscany and neighbouring Umbria by car or on foot.
This part of eastern Tuscany is an area of outstanding natural beauty. It is a region of steep hills cloaked in beech, oak and sweet chestnut trees, mountain pastures, meadows and streams. The many well-marked footpaths make it a perfect location for walkers and the many historic towns and monasteries will easily satisfy those in search of culture, art and architecture.
A few kilometres away is Caprese Michelangelo, birthplace of the artist Michelangelo Buonarroti, painter of the Sistine Chapel. The house in which he was born, the Casa del Podesta, is now the Museo Michelangelo.
A few kilometres further on is Anghiari, a medieval walled town surrounded by fields of tobacco and famous as the site of the last great battle between the armies of Florence and Milan in 1440.
Sansepolcro, the largest town in the area, is renowned as the birthplace of Piero della Francesca and the 14th century Palazzo Comunale houses some of his most famous works. It is also the setting for the Palio della Balestra - a crossbow tournament between Sansepolcro and Gubbio that has been held on the second Sunday of September since the Renaissance. The world-famous Flag-Wavers (sbandieratori) of Sansepolcro also put on a show at this time.
Also nearby is the sanctuary of La Verna, built on a rocky outcrop and offering spectacular views of the mountain scenery. It was here that St Francis is said to have received the stigmata - the wounds of Christ - in 1224, and is now a monastic village and an important pilgrimage site.
A little further afield, no more than an hours drive away, are the historic Umbrian towns of Perugia, Assisi and Gubbio. The ancient Tuscan city of Arezzo, home of one of the worlds greatest fresco cycles (by Piero della Francesca) is also within an hours drive, and just a little further on is the famous hilltop town of Cortona. Florence and Siena are within easy reach as day trips.
Just to the north is the Casentino. A vast area of forest, green alpine meadows, streams, waterfalls and high breezy ridges with spectacular views. It is criss-crossed with well-marked trails that follow old mule tracks or paths between the famous monasteries of Camaldoli, La Verna and Badia Prataglia. The Parco Nazionale delle Foreste Casentinesi was created recently to protect the extensive wildlife of the area. As well as red deer, fallow deer, mountain sheep and wild boar, the Appenine wolf is known to roam these parts. Birds such as eagle-owls, kites, goshawks and, it is said, golden eagles, can be seen circling over the valleys.
The apartment is a completely separate building situated about 30 metres from the main house. It contains a living area, bedroom and bathroom. Outside there is a patio, a small garden and a parking area. The entrance faces south and affords a beautiful view out over the fields towards Caprese Michelangelo and Monte Castello. The only building that can be seen is the 16th century church of San Casciano about a mile away. The apartment will sleep 2 people very comfortably but is large enough for 4.
Large french windows lead out from the lounge on to the south-facing patio making a brightly lit living area. The lounge has a wood-burning stove set in the fireplace, a large sofa bed which opens out to a queen size double bed, a comfortable armchair (another is available on request), and a TV (no aerial) with a DVD player. We have a wide selection of DVDs from which you are welcome to borrow.
There is a separate dining area with table and four chairs and a corner kitchen with full-sized cooker, microwave and fridge.
There is a queen-size double bed in the bedroom (twin beds can be arranged, if required). There is room for a small single bed, suitable for a child, and a cot is also available.
Outside the apartment there is a small patio, a south-facing garden with shady trees, and a parking area. There is a table and chairs for eating "al fresco" BarBque and sun loungers are available for those who just want to relax.
The accommodation can be booked on a per week or per day basis, with no fixed start and end days, so you can take advantage of cheaper mid-week flights.
There are many restaurant nearby serving traditional Tuscan cuisine. In the local towns of Caprese Michelangelo, Pieve Santo Stefano, Anghiari and Sansepolcro you will find restaurants, bars, and pizzerias as well as supermarkets, grocery shops, chemists and banks. There are also street markets in Pieve, Sansepolcro and Anghiari.
There is an open-air swimming pool, with slides, bar and picnic area, in Sansepolcro (about 25 minutes). The admission charge is 5 Euro per day and it is open from June to September.
Anghiari – Arts and Craft fair - last fortnight of April
Assisi – Calendimaggio !st weekend of May. A 3 day costume festival
Pieve Santo Stefano - Lo Spino 13th – 15th June. Round 5 of FIA international Hill Climb from Pieve Santo Stefano to Passo dello spino. www.prospino.com
Gubbio – Il Palio della Balestra 25th May. Crossbow competition with Sansepolcro
Cortona – Giostra dell’Archidado-8th June - Crossbow Competition
Arezzo – La Giostra del Saracino – 13th 21st June and 1st Sunday in September – Includes Jousting
Castiglion Fiorentino – 3rd Sunday in June - Il Palio dei Rioni
Anghiari – 27th to 29th June – Palio della Vittoria 1441
Siena – 2nd July and 16th August – Palio – Famous horse race
Montepulciano – Last Sunday in August – Bravio delle Botti – Barrel rolling race
Pienza – 1st Sunday in September –Cacio al Fuso Cheese(pecorino) fair fair
Sanseplocro 14th September – Il Palio della Balestra – Return match with Gubbio
Caprese Michelangelo – 3rd and 4th Weekend in October – Chestnut Festival